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John Hancock Collection


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Hancock, John, 1737-1793

John Hancock, American patriot and statesman, has become synonymous with American independence. Born on January 23, 1737, in Braintree, Mass., he was educated at Harvard College (now Harvard University). In 1766 he was elected to the Massachusetts legislature, and from 1775 to 1780 Hancock was a member of the Continental Congress, serving as a presiding officer. By virtue of this office, he was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence, which he did boldly in large strokes. He was the first governor of the state of Massachusetts, holding that office from 1780 to 1785 and from 1789 until his death.

The collection consists of selected correspondence and documents of John Hancock. A brief letter to George Washington, dated 27 August 1776, accompanied "Resolves of Congress" for the general's attention. A signed letter, dated 20 November 1776 and addressed to Governor William Livingston of New Jersey, concerns the necessity of furnishing troops for the new army. In addition, there are two other documents Hancock signed as president of the Continental Congress--an appointment (16 January 1777) of Edward White as an ensign in a foot regiment commanded by Col. John Patton and an appointment (25 September 1777) of Jeremiah Tolbert as major of the Sixth Pennsylvania Regiment--and a payment voucher (1 December 1781) he signed as governor of Massachusetts.

The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject.

The 25 September 1777 document was a gift of William B. Gilmore, Princeton Class of 1902, in 1959.

Folder inventory added by Nicholas Williams '2015 in 2012.

No appraisal information is available.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Collection Inventory

Letter to Governor William Livingston About Necessity of Furnishing Troops for the New American Army, 20 November 1776. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Letter to George Morgan Appointing Him as Agent of Indian Affairs (facsimile), 10 April 1776. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Letter for Appointment of Edward White in a Regiment and Letter to George Washington, 1776-1777. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Document Signed by John Hancock Appointing Jeremiah Tolbert to Major of the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment, 25 September 1777. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Letter to Henry Gardner: Order to Pay Isaac Peirce, 1 December 1781. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

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